A federal appeals court Aug. 23 backed a jury’s verdict that declared screenwriter Tyler Perry didn’t plagiarize for his 2005 film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
According to the Associated Press, in the suit, originated in 2008, writer Donna West accused Perry of stealing elements from her play “Fantasy of a Black Woman” which was performed in Dallas three times in 1991. She believed Perry could have acquired the script in 1998 when he presented some of his plays at the Dallas Black Academy of Arts and Letters. Attorneys for West claimed Perry was a newcomer at the time and couldn’t have produced such a script.
While a federal court jury in Marshall, Tex. found West failed to support her infringement claim, she appealed the verdict shortly thereafter. Perry testified that his film was original.
“We have reviewed the briefs and applicable law, have consulted applicable portions of the record, and have heard oral argument,” the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled. “There is no reversible error.”
Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” grossed more than $50 million and topped the nation’s box offices during its opening week in 2005.
This lawsuit is not the first accusation of copyright infringement against Perry.
According to TMZ.Com in February, Gospel singer Johnny Tyrone Stringfield also filed a suit against Perry claiming that without permission an episode of Perry’s TBS sitcom “Meet the Browns” featured characters reciting lyrics from a song he wrote. He wants $100,000 from Perry for using his 2008 song “I Got Away.”